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What is “tone at the top”?

Tone at the top is another phrase for the control environment, which is one of the key components of the COSO internal control framework.

The phrase “tone at the top” basically helps define or assess management’s leadership and commitment to creating a culture in the organization that is focused on honesty, integrity, and ethical behavior. The idea is that if management demonstrates these values in their day to day activities, then the rest of the employees within the organization will follow.


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  • What are the key components of the COSO internal control framework?

    Just remember it would be a CRIME to forget the 5 components. The 5 components of the COSO internal control framework include control environment, risk assessment, information & communication, monitoring, and existing control activities.

  • What is the risk assessment component of COSO?

    Risk assessment is one of the key components of the COSO internal control framework. It addresses how the organization assesses risk and identifies threats the organization. There are four key principles in risk assessment: Identify and Assess Changes – The assessment of changes in the external environment as well as in leadership roles. Changes in leadership roles can often lead to an increase in risk as new motives are brought forth to the company. Consider Potential for Fraud – The organization applies risks included in assessing pressures, opportunities, rationalizations and attitudes throughout the firm. Management should assess these three overall risks applied to employees and executive officers. Specify Objectives – The identification and assessment of the risks in which are related to specific objectives. It is important for management to identify objectives while sustaining within the parameters of its industry regulations and compliance requirements. Identify and Analyze Risk -The company should identify specific risks that are applicable to the organization and assess the risks that involved. Risks can either be internal or external risks and they can be risks of what would result in either potential fraud or errors made.

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